The Breakfast Ritual

Two years ago, I think in April when I lived in the beach house, I was messing around with ingredients on a Saturday morning. I had decided to give up eating poptarts, also known as my insatiable obsession in life, so I wanted to create a new breakfast. What was born on that day has never left my life since.

Half of the reason I love coming home lies in making this concoction. The amount of ingredients and some add-ins have changed over the years, usually based on whether I can convince my mom to pick up a $9 bag of chia seeds at Stop and Shop. Sometimes at school I didn’t have blueberries readily accessible so I stole strawberries from the dining hall and used those instead. Regardless, this breakfast will always have the same core ingredients, and last month I filmed myself making it so hopefully other people will give it a try. Personally, I don’t like a lot of water in my oatmeal so that’s why it looks like damp granola.

Enjoy!

June 2017

I’ve taken a break from posting on the blog and gave it a little makeover a few days ago. I think it looks a little bit more mature and it’s a breath of fresh air. I created One Thousand Lemons a year ago this month, and my first posting anniversary is coming up mid-July. I’m also making some changes to the way I post content; for example, this is going to be modeled after a “favorites” post but it’s going to be looser and encompass experiences more than things, because how I used to write these posts always felt inorganic and annoying.

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I remember when I met you / Salt in the summer breeze

You helped me draw the borders / When the ink, it starts to bleed

You’re my only harbor / When I’m drifting out to sea

Wanna wash up to the shore and / Bring you home to me (x)

To be listened to: baking in the sun on your favorite beach, with sunglasses and hair flying everywhere on Route 1 after a Bradley and Wall lunch, in the shower where all the sand in every crevice of your body is washed clean

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I read Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler this month of June, either engulfed in cold sand or by my bedroom window with the incessant pattering of rain as my background music. I underlined a lot; “Let’s just say I was born in late June of 2006 when I came over the George Washington Bridge at seven a.m. with the sun circulating and dawning, the sky full of sharp corners of light, before the exhaust rose, before the heat gridlocked in, windows unrolled, radio turned up to some impossibly hopeful pop song, open, open, open.” or “Do you see how, up close, it’s blurry and passionate? And from a distance, whole?” or “Was I a monster or was this what it felt like to be a person?” Recovering from it, this book is probably one of the best I’ve read. I felt connected.

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I had all and then most of you, some and now none of you / Take me back to the night we met

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, haunted by the ghost of you / Oh, take me back to the night we met

And then I can tell myself / What the hell I’m supposed to do

And then I can tell myself / Not to ride along with you (x)

To be listened to: directly after sunset on Old Orchard Rd, at 2 o’clock in the morning with someone you love but know you won’t have for long, driving through suburban Rhode Island in bright afternoon sunlight with your head out the window

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I went to Friday’s shows at The Governor’s Ball Music Festival in Manhattan, New York on Randall’s Island. I found myself in the middle of a mosh pit during ScHoolboy Q, felt liquid gold and chills down my spine up front for Flume, and ate sweet french fries very far from the stage with Wyatt, singing along to my favorite Chance the Rapper songs and felt pure happiness. I made a video of the performances I recorded. If you are considering dropping money on a music festival, I highly recommend it.

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Found a cure for loneliness, I’m forever immune / Stuck in my walk and in my head and I hum her tune

Yep, she got rhythm, it’s like / Some things don’t need words

You know you’re living / When it all becomes a blur

Can’t be explained, and there ain’t no reason to / Something strange just takes over you

One million lovers to choose from, but none like her / The only one for sure (x)

To be listened to: screaming the lyrics with your best friend on the drive to Dairy Queen, after 11 p.m. closing at work and trying not to cry having nowhere to go afterwards anymore, singing to yourself around the house when making oatmeal

Riley introduced me to the beauty that is a baguette and Mascarpone. I’m obsessed. I rip off a slice of bread, open it up with my fingers, slather on the Mascarpone, and it’s heaven. Serve with dark chocolate and a huge glass of water or seltzer for the full experience. Foodwise, I’ve also gotten back on the Annie’s fruit snacks grind, and it’s cherry season so you know where to find me.

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I like to watch the world, the world is looking good today / And it’s almost like I’m sleeping, I pull my head back to the sun

Clean my house from big fat flies / Dreaming of the city

Clear my head, clean my bed / Dreaming of the big city, big city (x)

To be listened to: swaying on a boat wearing white linen pants holding a glass of wine, driving to a seafront dinner wearing your nicest summer dress and wedges, screaming out the window on the way back from Hammonasset Beach after a sun-soaked day

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I bought the eyelet top at American Eagle in the month of June and it has quickly become one of my favorite shirts. It happens to go perfectly with my favorite jeans in the whole entire universe, the Gap boyfriend jean. The rips in the leg are perfect, the jeans are amazing quality, and the cuffs are a little ripped too which give them character. I wear these at least twice, maybe three times a week. Here I paired it with my new large J. Crew sunglasses and my favorite casual sandals from Target.

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I don’t get weak in the knees, hundreds spread out like a fan / Vert feel like some Gucci sandals, open the sky, get a handful

Torso marked up like a vandal, how you not fucking with cash? / God gave you what you can handle, gave you what you could handle

I got the grip like the handle, and I’m biking / I’m biking with me and my Daniel

Hades got the angels, TV’s got the angles / I’m braking (x)

To be listened to: biking in a wet bathing suit and ratty t-shirt, wet hair drying messily in the wind, in the morning making breakfast home alone, when you want to smile for no reason because Frank Ocean is a god and his voice is honey

The first half of June was packed with rain, which of course led countless hours of Youtube browsing. I discovered Margot Lee and watched pretty much all of her videos this month, and I rekindled my love for Rachel Bryner, who is just too good at being aesthetically pleasing. And, don’t even get me started on Katy Bellotte. I’ve loved her forever, and she’s been updating her blog more, which is so exciting. I feel like she gets me on another level, and since this month has held some disappointments, her musings on life make me feel refreshed.

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Something bad is ’bout to happen to me / I don’t know what, but I feel it coming

Might be so sad, might leave my nose running / I just hope she don’t wanna leave me

Don’t you give me up, please don’t give up / On me, I belong, with you, and only you baby

Only you, my girl / Only you, babe (x)

To be listened to: half singing along alone laying in bed, journaling experiences and feelings, reading new blog posts on The Messy Heads, waiting in parking lots, at gas stations, for directions, feeling disconnected

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Overall, June taught me a lot and I can’t believe it’s already over. Summer is halfway over. I started buying things for my sophomore year dorm; a new duvet, laptop skin, poster, sweatpants and sweatshirts. June taught me a lot about who I am as a person; how I want men to treat me, whether or not I should act on my desires, who in my life is actually there for me and cares for me, and how much it takes for me to give up on something I’ve already started.

And don’t forget the little things in life, like Fruity Pebbles, a new silver necklace, book club, trashy novels about Connecticut housewives, other people’s dogs, causeway sunsets, the one depressing Spotify playlist I have turned up to full volume in my car always, the marinated chicken sandwich at Shanks, Catlen’s pool, yoga, and acceptance.

Surviving Freshman Year: A Playlist

Everything is coming to a close and I don’t know what to make of it. I’ve been sick for the past few days so all I’ve been doing is writing and cleaning out my Spotify playlists. I realized from Spotify mainly how much changing I’ve done and how sentimental (well, isn’t it always) music was to me this year. At first I thought I still listened to the same music, but my curated playlists from high school and now are pretty different.

A lot of my musical growth this year has come from boys. Most of my interactions with guys started over music, Mac Demarco being the main player. It’s funny, because in two weeks when I see him it will basically be a reunion of me and every guy I’ve ever expressed interest in this year.

One of the first guys gave me The Strokes. The Strokes were a big part of my fall semester playlists and they were basically all I listened to as I walked from class to class in the brisk weather. He also gave me Courtney Barnett, whose Avant Gardener I will never forget. I learned all of the words to that song in a heartbeat; it’s hilarious, it’s UVM, it’s amazing.

The guy who painted my spring semester with music gave me a lot: LCD Soundsystem, Kaytranada, $uicideboy$, and renewed appreciation for Cage the Elephant and Matt & Kim. He reminded me of the L Train and he has a girlfriend now, or at least that’s what I’ve gathered from his Instagram. LCD will always be a solid walking-to-class choice, thank you.

Lastly, I’d like to thank my old suitemate for letting me lay in his bed, smoke his weed, and listen to Lonerism. That really set the tone for my UVM experience. Also, thanks for being the only straight (?) man who appreciated unreleased Lana.

The following songs are songs I’m going to listen to as we drive away from my new city, possibly for the last time, loaded with boxes and boxes of clothes, memories, textbooks, and my winter boots. They’re the songs that characterized this translucent April, the April that helped me realize a lot about myself. Spring has always been like that for me, but April is ending in peace this time, and not open chaos. April came in like a lion and out like a lamb.

ragged wood – fleet foxes

“come down from the mountain, you have been gone too long. spring is upon us, follow my only song. settle down with me by the fire of my yearning. you should come back home, back on your own now…”

feeling whitney – post malone

to each their own and find peace in knowing, ain’t always broken, but here’s to hoping. show no emotion, against your coding, and just act as hard as you can…”

the dreamer – the tallest man on earth

“oh sometimes the blues is just a passing bird, and why can’t that always be?”

shine – mondo cozmo

“stick with me, jesus, through the coming storm, I’ve come to you in search of something I have lost. shine down a light on me and show a path, I promise you I will return if you take me back…”

an illustration of loneliness (sleepless in new york) – courtney barnett

wondering what you’re doing, what you’re listening to, which quarter of the moon you’re viewing from your bedroom. watching all the movies, drinking all the smoothies, swimming at the pool, I’m thinking of you too…”

hang loose – alabama shakes

“hang loose, hang loose, let the ocean worry about being blue. hang loose, hang loose…”

atlas hands – benjamin francis leftwich

“take me to the docks, there’s a ship without a name there and it is sailing to the middle of the sea. the water there is deeper than anything you’ve ever seen, jump right in and swim until you’re free. I will remember your face, ’cause I am still in love with that place. but when the stars are the only things we share, will you be there?”

The following are songs I’ll characterize with the uncertainty of the beginning. The plane rides, the sweat, the crunchy hair days when everything was humidity. Dropping my eight dollar wrap on a sidewalk in the District while my headphones flew out of my ears. Making myself Nutella rice cakes and doing my Spanish homework ten minutes before class. When I tried so desperately to pretend I had it all figured out, and all my dreams were so, so big. And towards the end of my fall semester, when everything seemed like a tragedy and I went home numb.

the moment – tame impala

“in the end it’s stronger than I know how to be, and I can’t just spend my whole lifetime wondering. I fell in love with the sound of my heels on the wooden floor, I don’t want my footsteps to be silent anymore…”

crane your neck – lady lamb

and how it hurts, even in the sun. it’s a god-damned joke how we can hurt even in the sun. for a heart beats the best in the bed beside the one that it loves, oh yes a heart beats the best when in a head, death becomes irrelevant. ’cause if you’re dreaming about dying, then you’re not really living, darling. you’ve gotta be starving, you’ve gotta be starving for it...”

lonely – mean lady

it’s almost over, time when we’re not together. I feel it getting better all the time. and what if it takes too long? what if it takes too long and I’m lonely? how can it break me and make me so strong? what if it takes too long?”

new person, same old mistakes – tame impala

“and I know that it’s hard to digest, a realization is as good as a guess. and I know it seems wrong to accept, but you’ve got your demons and she’s got her regrets…”

wanderer, wandering – slow club

“I’ll ask where you’re going, and what you’re doing. you have no answer, ’cause you’re a wanderer, wandering, you’re a wanderer, wandering. and every second is a pounding drum, you’re leaning over me to put another record on, and every other guess is just cold hard luck…”

17 – youth lagoon

“surrounded by nothing, but nothing’s surrounded by us, it’s just me in my room, with my eyes shut. oh, when I was seventeen, my mother said to me, ‘don’t stop imagining, the day that you do is the day that you die…'”

hard to explain – the strokes

“I say the right thing but act the wrong way, I like it right here but I cannot stay… I missed the last bus, we’ll take the next train, I’ll try but you see, it’s hard to explain…”

The following are songs I’ll associate with the sadness of excitement. With the first drives up for the purpose of orienting myself here. With the Champlain sunsets, the firsts, the endless Ben and Jerry’s post-class outings, the sun catching itself perfectly in a window as I study. With the times I’d looked around with a soft sense of realization and wonder and knew I would be okay, and times I’d fallen asleep blurring the lines between here and home.

man on fire – edward sharpe & the magnetic zeroes

“come dance with me, over murder and pain, come dance with me, over heartache and shame. I wanna see our bodies burning like old big suns, I wanna know what we’ve been learning and learning from…”

reality in motion – tame impala

it made my heart run in circles and overflow, and I was closer than ever to letting go. it made my heart run in circles and overdrive, and I was closer than ever to feeling alive… heading for the deep end, soon as I remember, baby I surrender, I just need to breathe out, decisions are approaching, reality in motion…”

tiny cities – flume ft. beck

“can I? should I? find my way home? now did I, think I’d better go home. all I said I needed was gone, but I thought I heard it all wrong… but it’s never easy when you think you have it in control, somehow you get caught up in the moment and you never know…”

where the skies are blue – the lumineers

you’re gonna leave, it ain’t gonna break my heart, mama, cause I’ve never seen nobody quite like you. and if you ever change your tune, oh the world’s got the best of you, you can always find me where the skies are blue…”

settle – two door cinema club

“’cause I see the world in different colors to someone like you. the city will pull you in, romantic and drenched in sin, love. you only have but a time until this place will swallow you whole…”

no no no – beirut

don’t know the first thing about who you are, my heart is waiting, taken in from the start. if we don’t go now, we won’t get very far. don’t know the first thing about who you are…”

rivers and roads – the head and the heart

been talkin’ about the way things change, and my family lives in a different state. if you don’t know what to make of this, then we will not relate… rivers and roads, rivers and roads. rivers ’til I reach you…”

Where All the Veins Meet

This morning, I smiled at my reflection in the mirror, noticing a crop of new freckles and some peeling skin on my nose. It’s finally warm in Burlington. It may not last, but for the next ten days we are north of 50 degrees, which is all I can ask for. I smudged generous amounts of grapefruit essential oil on my wrists and neck and mixed it in with a few drops of the fragrance I’ve come to associate with my soul itself; Beach by Bobbi Brown. Together this combination reminds me of summer mornings at home cutting up a grapefruit, wearing a free people dress and going on a bike ride to the beach.

I am so happy here and don’t want to leave Vermont, because it’s so fun and beautiful, but I miss home so much. I don’t know how it’s possible to feel both. I can’t wait to jump feet first into the ocean, but I’m going to miss climbing up mountains and stumbling down to the waterfront with a picnic blanket, beer, and a sandwich. I guess my life is filled with so much beauty and the fact that I can’t have both places I love at once makes me sad.

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Yesterday I led a hike, my first real hike, up a mountain that was coated in thick untrustworthy layers of snowfall. By the time I left my socks were soaked through with snow and mud and my leggings were adhered to my ass from the times I fell and let myself slide. We sang along to Vermont radio stations on the way home and I was so tired and happy. A lot of the girls had never gone hiking before, and some were annoyed at how slow they were, but it just reminded me of a cliche, that we all get down the mountain somehow, no matter how unprepared or how likely to stumble we are. Even the best hikers on that trip had to sled down some parts, their packs soaked through with snowpack. It’s maybe a metaphor for this semester. Yeah, going uphill is hard, and you don’t know where to put your feet sometimes and your leg can fall through really easily, but the view at the top is great. On the flipside of that, the way down can be quicker and easy, but slushy, unreliable, and filled with challenges.

With that metaphor in mind, I know I’m just stumbling through the slush and mud in the final throes of spring semester. But I’m choosing to love it, rather than how much I hated it last semester. If there’s anything I wish I’d done differently, it would have been to talk to people. To wear the clothing I wore in high school. To try not to change so fast just because my surroundings did. To sing to Hozier in the shower on Monday mornings, to color in your journal on the quad, and to text that girl you met at a leadership conference to make popcorn and have a picnic. Follow the girl in your spanish class on instagram when you come across it. Talk to the boy in your environmental science class, ask him about Minnesota, go to a party and ask for a hit of his joint and be his friend. College can be just as socially smooth as high school was for you, Maina, if you just treat it that way.

My advice to future college freshman: buy the expensive fruit at the farmer’s markets, hang out with the kids you met in your orientation group, laugh for hours over breakfast instead of getting up after twenty minutes to study. Trust everyone and be content, like the wholesome meme says. People notice what you’ve got going on in your head, regardless of what the 2012 tumblr depression blogs say, so just choose to enjoy the challenges and people will enjoy them with you. I can’t believe I took all of this from a hike, but I guess the weather getting warm reminds me of who I really am. I do believe that people take after certain seasons and I know mine is summer so I am doing my best to reflect how I feel right now onto others.

I can’t really end this on a note that will tie this information together up neatly like most of my posts do. I feel like there is so much I’m going to live over this last month and two days of my freshman year. I cannot believe it’s almost over. So I’m just going to leave a poem that reminds me of this time in my life, so when I feel this way all over again it will make sense.

“As I write
the coffee shop is getting crowded
My back is to the line and counter
but I hear as people enter and exit
the creak of the door
I feel the cool draft 
the outside air gushing in eagerly
while it is able
Overhead is Bono’s voice
replacing Chris Martin’s
“I have run
I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls”
My left bicep starts to throb
I rub my eyes
“But I still haven’t found
what I’m looking for”
“But I still haven’t found
what I’m looking for”
The throbbing stops
and I inhale deeply
resting my head on the concrete wall beside me
painted white
although not fresh and fragrant” (x)
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Toast Can Never Be Bread Again

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This weekend was so strange in a wonderful way. If a little over a month ago I was feeling the seasons change from winter to fake spring, I felt the seasons change from winter to real spring this weekend. It snowed one (hopefully) last time Friday night, the sleet coming down in large swaths, at first melting as soon as it hit pavement and dry grass but eventually coalesced and stuck overnight. Saturday morning it turned into real snow and continued to fall over Burlington; the white sky encompassed absolutely everything and turned windows on Battery Street into stark alabaster canvases.

My favorite days are the ones where I explore Burlington by myself, picking the music I want to listen to, which bus seat I want to occupy, and what cafe I want to do work in. I walked around Church Street, College Street, and looked into most stores I have never entered before. I went to Burlington City Arts, I was the only one in the whole museum, and watched people walk through city park. I did work at a new cafe, August First, and drew in my journal until my hands hurt.

I agreed to have about ten members of Champlain College Class of 2021 in my common room Saturday night. I got them weed, they smoked, we talked. I forgot that people are excited about Burlington. I see it in the faces of the tourists and the way I feel when I look at sunsets, but Burlington lost next to all of its glimmer that it possessed when I visited here almost two years ago. They all inspired me to make more of a conscious effort to notice the excitement here, because it’s there, and we’ve all just gotten used to it, and that’s sad.

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I don’t know what it is, but something clicked in me after spring break. I felt it as I was laying in my bed, watching i-D videos about Korean beauty standards and slowly falling into a deep sleep. The sunlight reflected off of the snow coating the rooftops of South 1 and streamed through my window, illuminating the sounds of birds chirping. For a second, I felt like I was home. Not in the college-is-my-home-fuck-my-hometown way, but I started to blur the lines between Clinton and Burlington for a second, in sleep stasis. It was the same kind of settled feeling I felt in the car on the way to Walmart today when Emily and I had the windows down and Dug My Heart was playing. I didn’t feel inclined to lean my knees against the center console and tense up. I didn’t feel inclined to stay awake for fear of inconveniencing my roommates when they returned from the gym. I fell asleep peacefully, not dreaming at all, settled.

 

Both Sides Now

I have such a fascination with life, and hopefully it shows in everything I do, say, and create. It always strikes me how unpredictable and difficult life can be, and how we really, truly only have ourselves. For me, I know I have me, and some people I can count on the most, like my mother, father, brother, and sister. I know they have to and want to love me and care about me and my wellbeing, because they feel tied to me through blood and familial relation.

As much as I absolutely value the connection of friendship, and how I recognize that without my closest and even farthest friends I would not be who I am today, friendship is so fucking fleeting. They end over the smallest of things, or end quietly and you didn’t even notice. A lot of times, I find myself running away in friendships, blocking and unblocking them on Instagram, removing their photo on my lockscreen, avoiding eye contact or snapchats. And it’s so much harder to not care about people because of social media. Social media is fucked up in that sense. I want nothing more than to have some people out of my life. But the kid who falsely accused me of raping him in high school just updated his relationship status on Facebook, and my ex roommate posted a cute picture of the room she redid when I left. It’s. So. Hard.

And I was just saying today that I need to do things alone. I am creative when I’m by myself and I am more myself when I am alone. I can look at things differently when I’m alone and am fully immersed in my own voice and thoughts. I watch the videos and movies I want to watch, I pick and choose what I want to wear regardless of what others may think and what I want to listen to and not have to worry about who doesn’t like rap music.

Another part of me is always like Who are you kidding, you need humans to survive. And I know that. I know I am so reliant on human interaction. I love it and I thrive off of it, and I love making friends and seeing people’s posts on Facebook and VSCO. I love knowing what others are doing because half of it is curiosity and insecurity and the other have is just gathering genuine inspiration.

But then I get a mean text, or a side glance at the dining hall table, or an unanswered snapchat chat, and everything changes. I see the red minus symbols next to their heads like I’m playing Sims. And everything changes. I go back into my hole and I listen to Frank Ocean like it’s eighth grade all over again. Then I discover new parts of me and enter the real world ready to repeat the cycle all over again.

But this is also when I am most vulnerable. When I am all alone I feel fully powerful in a completely vulnerable way, like my soul is standing naked at an open window during a winter storm. And this kid came over last night, we ate chips and drank and talked about our childhoods, and I forgot what it was to feel like this. It’s such a thrill but also makes me want to cry myself to sleep. And that’s when I realized that that is love. Not love in the traditional let’s-get-married, we’re-soulmates sense, but the hey, I love life and so many other people do too and we all experience it different ways love. The kind of love that recognizes Manhattan and Philadelphia as someone’s childhood cities instead of Manhattan and Boston. And that’s the best way to think of it. Yeah, you might not have gone to concerts in Philadelphia on the weekends, but you did go to the Met, and so did he, and you both donated $1 like bad patrons and stared at the art like you were trying to become it.

Love is the vulnerability I feel turning on music I was too afraid to listen to because it reminds me of my old suitemate that I didn’t let myself have feelings for. Love is thinking of the three instances you have watched Pepperoni Playboy with people; one with Amanda on a senior snow day falling asleep, one with Olivia in Peter’s bed high off your ass, and one at 2 a.m. with a boy from New Jersey wearing olive green pants. Love is life and connection and disconnecting for a while and not always having to bring things full circle, because you know that the universe will do that for you and it will fill you with awe and raw emotion. Fascinating.

Ideal Shopping List

  • dates
  • Justin’s hazelnut butter, the big jar
  • rice cakes
  • whole grain bread
  • maple brown sugar oatmeal
  • cacoa nibs
  • lemons
  • nectarines
  • plums
  • smoked gouda cheese, pre-sliced
  • blueberries
  • chia seeds
  • butter lettuce
  • classic hummus
  • cinnamon sugar
  • coconut shavings
  • walnuts
  • almonds
  • a few bananas
  • deep river potato chips
  • lemonade
  • guacamole
  • hint of lime tortilla chips
  • vanilla yogurt
  • bagels
  • berry cream cheese
  • peaches
  • pineapple
  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • passion fruit
  • honeycrisp apples
  • whole grain pasta
  • pasta sauce with spices
  • fresh Italian bread
  • white wine